8238 Public Safety Communications Dispatcher

Recruitment #CCT-8238-903154


We are not accepting applications at the time. The most recent application filing period closed on April 30, 2020 at 4 PM (PST). The information below is provided for informational purposes only.

Position Description:
Under general supervision, a Public Safety Communications Dispatcher receives incoming emergency (9-1-1) and non-emergency telephone calls from both the public and public safety agencies. This position dispatches police, fire, and emergency medical services (EMS) field units to respond to emergency and non-emergency calls for service over a two-way radio system utilizing a computer-aided dispatch system.

The Department of Emergency Management’s Division of Emergency Communications operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Public Safety Communications Dispatchers may be assigned to work various schedules which include day shift, swing shift, night shift, weekends, holidays, and overtime. Public Safety Communications Dispatchers work 8-hour or 10-hour shifts (or longer) and must be willing and able to respond, report, and mobilize as necessary.

Examples of essential functions include, without limitation:

  • Receives emergency and non-emergency calls and efficiently gathers, evaluates, prioritizes, and documents information from callers.
  • Dispatches police, fire, and EMS field units to specific locations using a computer-aided dispatch system, multiple video display terminals, two-way radio dispatch console, and related equipment.
  • Evaluates incoming reports of police, fire, and medical emergencies; immediately transmits complete and accurate information to appropriate field personnel.
  • Monitors, coordinates, and accurately maintains the status of incidents and records of dispatched emergency service personnel and apparatus.
  • Receives and disseminates information from other law enforcement and emergency service computer networks related to jurisdictional requests for police, fire, or medical service assistance, or to notices of wanted persons, stolen property, warrants, and all-points bulletins; maintains confidentiality of information.
  • Maintains familiarity with area geography including major streets and buildings; recognizes circumstances that may pose hazards to public safety field units and the public.
  • Maintains up-to-date understanding of public safety policies and procedures for the Department of Emergency Management, police, fire, EMS, and other emergency service providers.
  • Responds to routine and non-routine inquiries regarding police, fire, or emergency medical services; properly classifies and prioritizes any report or complaint and determines appropriate course of action; provides appropriate referrals as necessary.
  • Responds, reports, and mobilizes as necessary.
  • Works various 8-hour or 10-hour shifts, or longer, including day shift, swing shift, night shift, weekends, holidays, and overtime.
  • Provides on-the-job training.

Working Conditions: Public Safety Communications Dispatchers work in a fast-paced, highly stressful, and confined environment, wear headsets which restrict physical movement in the work area, and sit or stand and view video displays for extended periods of time.

VIDEO: Click here to watch a video and learn more about what it’s like to work as a Public Safety Communications Dispatcher at the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management. 

Minimum Qualifications

These minimum qualifications establish the education, training, experience, special skills, and/or license(s) which are required for employment in the classification:

1. Possession of a high school diploma or equivalent (GED or High School Proficiency Examination); AND

2. Two (2) years of experience in a public contact position providing information and/or a service, or in a position where the primary responsibility is interacting with people.

Completion of thirty (30) semester units or forty-five (45) quarter units of coursework from an accredited college or university may substitute for one (1) year of the required experience as described above.


Note: One year of experience is equivalent to 2,000 hours (2,000 hours of qualifying work experience is based on a 40-hour work week). Applicants must meet the minimum qualification requirement by the filing deadline unless otherwise noted.


Desirable Qualifications:
The stated desirable qualifications may be used to identify job finalists at the end of the selection process when candidates are referred for hiring.

  • Two (2) years of recent journey-level experience dispatching law enforcement and/or fire/medical resources.
  • Possession of a California Commission on Peace Officer Standards & Training (P.O.S.T.) Public Safety Dispatcher Basic Certificate.

Note: Falsifying one’s education, training, or work experience or attempted deception on the application may result in disqualification for this and future job opportunities with the City and County of San Francisco.

How To Apply

Applications for City and County of San Francisco jobs are only accepted through an online process. Visit www.jobaps.com/sf to register an account (if you have not already done so) and begin the application process.

-Select the desired job announcement
-Select “Apply” and read and acknowledge the information
-Select either “I am a New User” if you have not previously registered, or “I have Registered Previously”
-Follow instructions on the screen

Computers are available for the public (from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday) to file online applications in the lobby of the Dept. of Human Resources at 1 South Van Ness Avenue, 4th Floor, San Francisco.

Applicants may be contacted by email about this announcement and, therefore, it is their responsibility to ensure that their registered email address is accurate and kept up-to-date.  Also, applicants must ensure that email from the City and County of San Francisco (CCSF) is not blocked on their computer by a spam filter.  To prevent blocking, applicants should set up their email to accept CCSF mail from the following addresses: (@sfgov.org, @sfdpw.org, @sfport.com, @flysfo.com, @sfwater.org, @sfdph.org, @asianart.org, @sfmta.com, @sfpl.org, @dcyf.org, @first5sf.org).

Applicants will receive a confirmation email that their online application has been received in response to every announcement for which they file.  Applicants should retain this confirmation email for their records.  Failure to receive this email means that the online application was not submitted or received.

All work experience, education, training and other information substantiating how you meet the minimum qualifications must be included on your application by the filing deadline.  Information submitted after the filing deadline will not be considered in determining whether you meet the minimum qualifications. Resumes may be attached to the application; however, information provided in resumes may not be accepted in lieu of information provided in a completed City and County of San Francisco application.

Applications completed improperly may be cause for ineligibility, disqualification or may lead to lower scores.

If you have any questions regarding this recruitment or application process, please contact the exam analyst, Tony Won, by telephone at (415)558-3833, or by email at

Verification: Applicants may be required to submit verification of qualifying education and experience at any point during the recruitment and selection process. If education verification is required, information on how to verify education requirements, including verifying foreign education credits or degree equivalency, can be found at http://sfdhr.org/index.aspx?page=456. Failure to provide the required verification when requested may result in rejection of application and/or removal from eligibility for referral and appointment in this class. Verification may be waived if impossible to obtain. The applicant must submit a signed statement explaining why verification cannot be obtained. Waiver requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Selection Procedures

Minimum Qualification Supplemental Questionnaire (Weight: Qualifying)
Candidates will be prompted to complete a Supplemental Questionnaire as part of the online employment application. This Minimum Qualification Supplemental Questionnaire is designed to obtain specific information regarding an applicant's experience in relation to the minimum qualifications for this position. Applicants must also complete the official application. It is essential that applicants provide complete information in identifying their education, experience, and training. The Minimum Qualification Supplemental Questionnaire will be used to evaluate if the applicant possesses the required minimum qualifications.

Performance Examination: (Weight: Pass/Fail)
Candidates who meet the minimum qualifications will be invited to participate in a performance examination designed to measure aptitude for performing public safety communications dispatcher work including, but not limited to: the ability to prioritize and multitask effectively in a fast-paced, high-stress environment; the ability to recall facts, details, and other information; and the ability to type and operate a computer terminal at a speed of 40 words per minute (net).

Oral Examination: (Weight: 100%)
Candidates who pass the performance examination will be invited to participate in a scenario-based oral examination. Candidates will be tested to determine their relative knowledge, skills, and abilities in job-related areas including, but not limited to: the ability to collect information and make sound decisions; the ability to analyze and prioritize situations; oral communication skills; and interpersonal skills.  

NOTE: Applicants who fail either the performance or oral examination must wait six (6) months before reapplying to this continuous recruitment.

Continuous Recruitment/Eligible List:
Candidates who meet the minimum qualifications and receive a passing score on both examination components will have their names placed on the eligible list in rank order. Names of successful candidates will be added to the existing eligible list with an eligibility period of twelve (12) months. Candidates are not allowed to reapply during their 12-month eligibility period. Names will be removed from the continuous list at the end of the eligibility period. Candidates do not have the option to automatically extend their eligibility. The hiring department may extend candidate’s duration of eligibility, based on departmental needs. If you wish to reapply after your eligibility expires, return to this announcement and follow the instructions in the How to Apply section. Please note, reapplying is not permitted while your name is still on the eligible list.

Successful candidates will be placed on the eligible list in rank order according to their final score. Please note, additional names may be added to the eligible list periodically; candidates’ names will be merged into the existing eligible list. Final scores will be valid for twelve (12) months.  

Eligible List/Score Report:
A confidential eligible list of applicant names that have passed the civil service examination process will be created and used for certification purposes only. An examination score report will be established so applicants can view the ranks, final scores, and number of eligible candidates. Applicant information, including names of applicants on the eligible list, shall not be made public unless required by law. However, an eligible list shall be made available for public inspection, upon request, once the eligible list is exhausted or expired and referrals resolved. The eligible list/score report resulting from this civil service examination process is subject to change after adoption (e.g., as a result of appeals), as directed by the Human Resources Director or the Civil Service Commission.

Certification Rule:
The Certification Rule for the eligible list resulting from this examination will be Rule of Five Scores. The Department of Emergency Management will administer the remaining processes outlined below to determine who shall advance further in the hiring process and be considered for appointment. Candidates must successfully complete all of the components listed below in order to continue in the selection process. Candidates will remain under waiver pending successful completion of these processes. Therefore, one’s placement on this list neither guarantees nor implies an offer of employment.

Employment, Character, and Background Investigation:
Prior to appointment, each candidate’s background will be carefully reviewed to determine fitness for employment. Information received from candidates is certified by investigation of records held by the Criminal Justice System and the Department of Motor Vehicles, as well as contact with employers and references listed by the candidate. Reasons for non-consideration include, for example, the use of controlled substances, felony convictions, repeated or serious violations of the law, inability to work cooperatively with coworkers, negative financial/credit history, or other job-related factors. Criminal history that would preclude access to the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (CLETS) is reason for non- consideration. Applicants currently on criminal probation in this or any other state will be disqualified. Criminal records will be carefully reviewed; those candidates who do not report their complete criminal history records on their application will be disqualified. Deliberate inaccuracies or omissions will be cause for non-consideration.

Note: Candidates will be prompted to submit a completed Personal History Statement (PHS), Authorization to Release Information/Waiver form, and additional documents prior to the initiation of the Background Investigation. Once prompted, candidates will have approximately two (2) weeks to submit all the required documentation. Click on the following link to view “Human Resources Hiring Documents” to familiarize yourself with the items you will be required to submit: http://sfdem.org/become-dispatcher. Please do not submit any documentation to the Department of Emergency Management until you receive notification to do so.

Polygraph Examination:
Candidates are required to undergo a polygraph examination to verify the veracity and accuracy of the information submitted regarding, but not limited to, the use of controlled substances, driving, criminal, and employment history, and other job-related factors. The Department of Emergency Management will not consider individuals who have previously been rejected for hire based upon conditions which are not subject to change such as felony conviction, involvement in the distribution of illegal substances, etc.

Psychological Evaluation:
A psychological examination is required prior to appointment. The examination consists of a written test and a clinical interview to determine the candidate’s fitness for emergency work.

Medical Examination:
Prior to appointment, eligible persons must successfully pass a medical examination to determine his/her ability to perform the essential functions of the job.

Candidates who are rejected for hire based upon a history of controlled substance abuse and/or background factors are not eligible to reapply for two (2) years from the date of disqualification. Candidates who are rejected for hire based upon psychological testing are not eligible to reapply for one(1) year from the date of disqualification. The Department of Emergency Management reserves the right to disqualify individuals who have previously been rejected for hire based upon conditions that are not subject to change, e.g., felony convictions, controlled substance abuse. In addition, the Department may reject, within a two (2) year period from final disqualification, individuals who have previously been rejected for hire based upon background factors and, within a one (1) year period, individuals who have previously been rejected for hire based upon psychological testing. Final disposition, in the instance of an appeal of disqualification, shall be that date on which all administrative remedies have been exhausted.

Realistic Job Preview:
Candidates may be required to participate in a sit-along in which they will observe a dispatcher during the course of their work. The purpose of the sit-along is to provide candidates with an opportunity to gain a realistic preview of the job and a better understanding of the challenges, rewards, and responsibilities of a dispatcher’s role. Participants shall be considered observers only, and shall be under direct supervision during the sit-along.

Conviction History

As a finalist for a job, you will be fingerprinted, and your fingerprints will be sent to the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The resulting report of your conviction history (if any) will be used to determine whether the nature of your conviction (or arrest, in limited circumstances) conflicts with the specific duties and responsibilities of the job for which you are a finalist. If a conflict exists, you will be asked to present any evidence of rehabilitation that may mitigate the conflict, except when federal or state regulations bar employment in specific circumstances, such as:

  • Candidates applying for positions with the Unified School District and the Community College District may be disqualified from consideration should their conviction history not meet the standards established under the California Education Code.
  • Candidates applying for positions with the Recreation and Park Department may be disqualified from consideration should their conviction history not meet the standards established under California Public Resources Code 5164.

Having a conviction history does not automatically preclude you from a job with the City.

If you are selected as a finalist, the hiring department will contact you to schedule a fingerprinting appointment.

Disaster Service Workers

All City and County of San Francisco employees are designated Disaster Service Workers through state and local law (California Government Code Section 3100-3109). Employment with the City requires the affirmation of a loyalty oath to this effect. Employees are required to complete all Disaster Service Worker-related training as assigned, and to return to work as ordered in the event of an emergency.


Applicants with disabilities who meet the minimum eligibility requirements for this job announcement can find information on requesting a reasonable ADA Accommodation at: https://sfdhr.org/information-about-hiring-process#applicantswithdisabilities.

Information regarding requests for Veteran's Preference can be found at: https://sfdhr.org/information-about-hiring-process#veteranspreference.

General Information concerning City and County of San Francisco Employment Policies and Procedures:
Important Employment Information for the City and County of San Francisco can be obtained at https://sfdhr.org/information-about-hiring-process or hard copy at 1 South Van Ness Avenue, 4th Floor, San Francisco. 

Copies of Application Documents:
Applicants should keep copies of all documents submitted, as these will not be returned.

Right to Work:
All persons entering the City and County of San Francisco workforce are required to provide verification of authorization to work in the United States.

Terms of Announcement and Appeal Rights:
Applicants must be guided solely by the provisions of this announcement, including requirements, time periods and other particulars, except when superseded by federal, state or local laws, rules or regulations. [Note: The correction of clerical errors in an announcement may be posted on the Department of Human Resources website at www.jobaps.com/sf] The terms of this announcement may be appealed under Civil Service Rule 110.4. Such appeals must be submitted in writing to the Department of Human Resources, 1 S Van Ness Avenue, 4th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103-5413 by close of business on the 5th business day following the issuance date of this examination announcement. Information concerning other Civil Service Commission Rules involving announcements, applications and examination policies, including applicant appeal rights, can be found on the Civil Service Commission website at http://sfgov.org/civilservice/rules

Exam Type: Entrance
Issued: December 17, 2018 [Reissued: 4/16/2019; 12/9/2019; 3/25/2020]
Micki Callahan
Human Resources Director
Department of Human Resources
Recruitment ID Number: 903154



All employees hired on or after January 10, 2009 will be required (pursuant to San Francisco Charter Section A8.432) to contribute 2% of pre-tax compensation to fund retiree healthcare. In addition, most employees are required to make a member contribution towards retirement, ranging from 7.5%-13.25% of compensation. For more information on these provisions, please contact the personnel office of the hiring agency.

For more information about benefits, please click here.

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